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23rd Anniversary of Northern Muslim Exodus in Sri Lanka

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  • 7/27/2019 23rd Anniversary of Northern Muslim Exodus in Sri Lanka


    23rd Anniversary Of Northern Muslim Exodus In Sri Lanka

    by Rifai

    ( October 28, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lankan Muslims of NorthernProvince still vividly remember those dark days in their life. It was at the end of

    October 1990 that Muslims of Northern provinces were abruptly asked to leave their

    own homes and properties within the time limits of few hours. They were also asked

    not to take any valuable items with them. They were not allowed to take even their

    hard earned money or jewelleries. They were not allowed to sell their properties and

    belongings to anyone. They were asked to leave their native villages empty handed.

    They were forced to evacuate their native place of birth with cloths that they were

    wearing. This happened in this so called modern civilised world.

    This was some sort of barbarism that LTTE inflicted on harmless and innocent

    Muslims of Northern province in Sri Lanka. This was done in the name of freedom

    fighting. Tales and stories of unbearable suffering and hardships of these innocent

    victims are not yet, properly documented in a professional manner. Of course, some

    attempts have been made to document the ordeals of these innocent people and yet,

    the voices of these innocent victims have not reached ears and hearts of Sri Lankan

    politicians and policy makers. Still some of these people are destined to live as

    displaced people in many parts of this Island.

  • 7/27/2019 23rd Anniversary of Northern Muslim Exodus in Sri Lanka


    I was wittingly or unwittingly destined to watch the ordeals of some of these people. I

    happened to be in Puttalam when this ordeal was unfolding in 1990. I happened to

    watch the suffering of these people who came into Puttalam empty handed without any

    basic necessities of life. Some of them came walking hundreds of miles. Some of them

    came in empty stomach. Some of them were traumatised with their suffering and

    sadness. Some of them were sick and emotionally charged with sorrow and remorse.The entire Muslim community in Sri Lanka witnessed this ordeal in utter shock and


    The Muslim community did try to console these innocent people and yet, the

    magnitude of this suffering was so great and beyond human comprehension and

    human taking. I should say that Muslim people of Puttalam and its suburbs provided

    much needed help for these people at this crucial time of urgency. I think that no

    human being on earth should undergo sufferings like this. It was a really a pathetic

    situation. I would need volumes to write ordeals of these people. For the last 23 years

    they have suffered a lot in many aspect of their life. They suffered from poverty. Theydid not have good accommodations to live with their families. They could not educate

    their children properly. They could not get good employment opportunities. They

    faced many social problems. They could not lead a decent life in these displaced places.

    What happened to them is an historical account and yet we should record them to

    learn lessons from it.

    What matters the most today is not about the past but present day situation of these

    people. After 23 years of suffering these people are still not being accommodated in

    their native places and still live as displaced people. Even after the defeat of LTTEthese people have not been relocated in their native places. It is true that some of these

    people have already moved into their native places and yet, most of them are still living

    as IDPs in many places. Even most of those people who moved into their native places

    they did on their own expenses. It should be mentioned here that successively Sri

    Lankan government greatly failed in their political and moral responsibilities towards

    these people. Whether we like it or not we should reiterate here that successive Sri

    Lankan governments did not treat these people as their own Sri Lankan nationals and

    citizens. This is the true fact and bitter truth as well. No one should try twisting this

    historical mistake.

  • 7/27/2019 23rd Anniversary of Northern Muslim Exodus in Sri Lanka


    Sri Lanka is a democratic country and its constitution guarantees equal rights to all.

    Whether you come from Tamil community or Singhalese community you should have

    equal rights as stipulated in the constitution. Every Sri Lankan contributes to the

    national economy thorough his hard works and earning. Each community contribute

    to the growth and development of this country. There is no justification to discriminate

    against any community or any individual in this country. There is no justification tofavour one community over another in this country. Yet, in this case of Northern

    Muslim exodus, the successive Sri Lankan authorities have failed to facilitate them to

    return to their native places? Why is this step motherly treatment of the Northern

    Muslim by the successive governments? Is it because, they are Muslims or is it because

    they have no political influence? Is it because they are not nationals of this country?

    Why is this open discrimination against them? Of course we all know that some NGOs

    and government social services department did provide some food rations to these

    people for sometimes and yet, they have not been relocated by the government


    Suppose that this type of tragedy happened to some Singhalese villages in some parts

    of Sri Lanka. What would have been the reaction of these successive Sri Lankan

    governments? They would have taken immediate necessary steps to resettle affected

    people within few years time. They would not have to suffer 23 years for resettlements

    as Northern Muslims do today?

    What more is that we have more than 18 Muslims members of parliament today and

    yet, they have also failed in their moral and religious responsibility towards these

    people? They have not done enough to support these people. They have not supportedthese people in time of their difficulties. They have greatly failed to understand the

    suffering of these people. They could not identify the challenges and problems of these

    people. They could not persuade successive government to support these people.

    These Muslim politicians are selfish and incapable people to help our community

    except a few of them. They have even failed to discuss this issue in parliament

    successfully. I should greatly appreciate some Tamil leaders who condemn the action

    of LTTE and welcome the Northern Muslims back to their native places and yet, our

    Muslim politicians have failed to appreciate the good will gesture of these Tamil

    politicians. What more is that international Muslim community have greatly failed onthis issue? Though Islam preaches about universal Islamic brotherhood in faith and

    yet, no Muslim country or no International Islamic organization came forward to help

    these people to resettle in their native places.

  • 7/27/2019 23rd Anniversary of Northern Muslim Exodus in Sri Lanka


    We hope that MR and his government open their eyes and come forward to do some

    things constructively to support these displaced people. If this government is

    genuinely wanted to protect minority rights it should help minority communities

    without bias and discrimination. How long this government could act with two

    different faces: Time will tell us that sooner rather than later. It is learned that there

    may be some financial allocation in this years budget to rehabilitate and compensatesome of these displaced people and yet, there is no really confirmed by the Sri Lankan

    government sources.

    Posted byThavam